Tell us what it's going to take for you to return to Guyana.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Better than "Axe The Vat"

Mr. Peter R. Ramsaroop has recently publicized a flyer advocating the repeal of the VAT tax in Guyana. I see this as a way to resonate with the people and this gain popular support. These are good intentions indeed. If people don't vote for their race, they will vote the interests of their pocketbook. Rarely will people be conscientious objectors to their own personal gain.

My alternative is something that I've been cautious about openly airing because I am in the midst of a research project that will arm me with more information regarding this very thing. However, since the flyers are already wooshing off the press I fear that I may be putting this forth too late.

I am in favor of a VAT tax precisely because it is the most visible tax that people actually feel a pinch from. Many advanced states are masters at coaxing taxes without the taxed feeling the pinch. Payroll deduction taxes are an example of these. One only sees the bottom line on the paycheck. Mourning is minimal because the person never would have gotten that money anyway so it was never available to be spent. Painful taxes keep the people wary of a government that should rightfully be watched. In addition to this, an effective means of taxation needs to be as broad as possible for it to raise any revenue. An example of a broad-based tax is a petrol tax.

If one is in favor of getting rid of a tax, make the income tax. An income tax rests on the assumption that one's own labour belongs to the government. What one gets after taxes is what the government allows him or her to keep. Now you may say that this will only benefit the rich because only the those who make above a certain income even pay income taxes. You're right on that, but the rich spend more as well and they do they pay VAT.

Let's get to the solution before I upset more people.

I propose that the platform of our pro-western candidate include at least these two points to not only effectively raise revenue in an equitable manner, but also unleash the spending power of Guyanese. It will be a pronunciation of rights of sorts:

1. All revenues derived from natural resources extracted from public land are the property of the Guyanese people individually and collectively. The Government has the responsibility to collect a fair royalty from the extractor and disperse the revenue evenly amongst Guyanese citizens no less than once yearly. Examples of extracted, exportable bounty include but are not limited to: Oil, Natural Gas, Lumber, Gold, Diamonds and Hydro-electric Power (yes).

2. The Guyanese people are the lawful sovereign owners of the fruits of their own labour, and thus have the right to all monies derived from any consensual contract of labour. In exchange for the abolition of all payroll taxes, the people may agree to yield exactly 50% of the natural resources revenues to be used by the government in accordance with the law.

3. All revenue collected by the government of Guyana is still the sovereign property of Guyana's citizens, and as such, all citizens have the right to know exactly how their money is being spent. Thus, Parliament will pass a freedom of information act that affords at least as much information attainment rights afforded other citizens of other countries like India (great example) and the US. The act will mandate the creation of a modern, transparent information ministry with leadership mechanisms that allow all parliamentary parties to obtain access to government financial information, to ensure that someone is always watching the money (big project).

This is not all, but it's simplified without my myriad justifications. Call it what you want, but it will work because the people keep more of their money and get more money to spend. VAT revenues will increase. The government will be answerable to the people.

The regular formula in which the government gets oil revenue and spends it how it sees fit doesn't work. The citizens are absent from the equation and usually lose rights and are subject to governments that trend away from democracy.

If we want a Guyana that will be prosperous, we need to unleash the individual.

No comments: